The University Health System's Sky Tower Project in San Antonio's Medical District was completed in spring 2014. It added a 10-story, 1 million-sq-ft, $899-million Level 1 Trauma Center hospital.

Photo by Gary Oliver, Walker Engineering Inc.
University Health System Sky Tower at University Tower

The facility includes an expanded emergency department, two surgery floors with 23 intelligent surgical suites, 420 private patient rooms, a main-level marketplace and a 3,300-space parking garage.

Walker Engineering's involvement began in July 2011 and wrapped up in May 2014 with continued onsite support and upgrades managed through the firm's End-user Services Group. Walker's Network Services Team served as the technology construction manager at-risk and the low-voltage systems installation contractor. The work covered IT infrastructure, cabling, audio and visual, access control, video surveillance, emergency intercom and active equipment.

Walker's contract for these services totaled $44 million, with $12 million in a design-assist role for the hospital's dispatch and command and control center, active equipment and real-time location and radio frequency identification systems.

One of the most significant challenges that Walker faced in the technology design-assist effort was keeping up with the evolving technology while ensuring that the form, fit and finish remained relevant to the construction elements.

With adoption of the newer National Fire Protection Association codes and more than 3,000 speakers for paging alone, Walker worked with the design team and the fire-alarm contractor to evolve the paging system to a complete annunciation system.

The Sky Tower was Walker's second major project to be completed for the University Health System in the past two years.

Key Players

General Contractor Zachary Vaughn Layton, a Joint Venture, Universal City, Texas

Owner University Health System, San Antonio

Lead Design Perkins + Will, Dallas

Structural Jaster-Quintanilla & Associates Inc., San Antonio

Civil Pape-Dawson Engineers, San Antonio

MEP Goetting & Associates, San Antonio

Technology Consultant Datacom Design Group, San Antonio

Technology Construction Manager at Risk/Low Voltage Systems Installation Contractor Walker Engineering Inc., Irving, Texas